BBQ Jackfruit

So you have a can/jar of jackfruit in the cupboard and you have no idea what to do with it. I’m here to help 🙂 What you don’t want to do with jackfruit is just eat it like it is – you have to spice and flavour that baby up, just like it’s a block of tofu, because it really is pretty tasteless on its own.

If you wanna keep your looks (who doesn’t…) apparently jackfruit is high in antioxidants, so get ON this stuff! Although it’s a fruit, and you can eat it as a fruit, most of us vegans use it as a meat substitute because of the texture, and it’s ability to take on savoury flavours. Have to admit, I tried raw jackfruit a year or so back, and I can’t say I enjoyed it… savoury cooked jackfruit though – GIMME.

BBQ jackfruit is probably the easiest and tastiest thing to do with a tin of jackfruit, and you can then use it in whatever dinner/lunch (or breafast?!) you like. I use mine in burgers, but you can also use as a baked potato topping, in tacos, on a pizza or as part of a warm buddah bowl. The choice is yours.

Jackfruit burgz

I like my jackfruit pretty spicy, but feel free to omit the chili powder if that’s not your bag. Jackfruit is much more soft and juicy if you cook it for a long time (and keep adding water as you go), but if you’re in a hurry you don’t need to cook the jackfruit for more than about ten minutes in the sauce. I’d suggest going for the long haul though, you won’t regret it.

Ingredients

1 x can/jar of jackfruit in water (approx 400g)

1 tsp oil for frying (e.g. sunflower oil)

1/2 small brown onion, roughly chopped

3 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped finely

1 Tbsp hot smoked paprika (use less if you prefer non-spicy)

1 Tbsp agave (or sub with brown sugar or maple syrup)

1/2 tsp chili powder (omit if you don’t like spicy)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup premade BBQ sauce (check if vegan – a fair few of them include honey)

Instructions

Drain the jackfruit and separate into smaller parts. Chop up the hard ends if they aren’t coming apart easily.

Add the oil to a frypan/skillet and heat on medium. Add the onions and cook until translucent, around 8 minutes (be careful not to burn – turn down if they start to brown).

While the onions are cooking, combine the paprika, agave, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder and salt and pepper into a small bowl.

Add the minced garlic to the onions and stir, cooking for a minute or so, and ensure the garlic does not burn.

Add the jackfruit and the spices, and stir to thoroughly combine. Cook on medium for around a minute, stirring every so often so the bottom doesn’t stick.

Turn the heat to low and add the BBQ sauce and 1/2 cup of water. Stir to combine thoroughly. Leave to cook for around 30 minutes (up to an hour if you can stand the delicious smell!), stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add more water if it starts to dry up. You want the sauce to be sloppy, but still sticking to the jackfruit when you serve it up.

Serve in buttered, toasted buns with lettuce, cheese and pickles and you have yourself a delicious pulled jackfruit burger!

Time to make: 10 minutes to prep the ingredients, 30 minutes to cook the jackfruit = 40 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 1.5, Pretty darn easy once you have all your spices mixed and jackfruit shredded.

#nowplaying : Idles – Mr Motivator

Butternut squash risotto

 

I’m a big fan of risotto, and there are so many variations on what you can make it with that my head spins sometimes.  Tomato based, creamy based, arborio rice, pearl barley, ALL the different veggies… the list of combinations are endless.

You need to follow the basics of risotto making to ensure it comes out with the right taste and texture.  By all means, mix it up a bit, but it will require your time and attention.  Don’t just leave that poor fella on the hob, cooking away, while you go have a shower – NO.  Give him the love he deserves, and you’ll get it back in a delicious dish that you’ll make over and over again.

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Praise be to the risotto gods

Make sure you use specialist “risotto” rice (e.g. arborio, carnaroli, baldo etc…) and not your standard white or brown rice – because it WILL make a difference.  White wine is also needed, although if you’re trying to cut down on the alcohol, then substitute with white grape juice (no, really!) or more stock.  With this recipe I substituted the wine for stock and a little bit of lemon juice, and the result was still excellent.

So set some time aside, give this recipe a try, pay attention (be mindful!), and you’ll get results, I promise 😉

Ingredients

1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced into 2cm cubes

4 TBsp oil

600ml vegetable stock

2 TBsp vegan butter/margarine

1/2 large or one small onion, chopped fairly fine

2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine/crushed

1 bay leaf

1 tsp mixed herbs (try including thyme, sage, rosemary and oregano, or a combination of them)

150g risotto rice (I used Arborio for this recipe)

100 ml white wine (substitute for veggie stock or white grape juice)

1 packed cup of fresh, roughly chopped spinach

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180C

Add 2/3 of the diced butternut squash to a bowl with 2 TBsp of the oil, and toss to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place the oiled squash on a baking tray, ensuring none of the squash is touching each other, and bake for around 30 minutes, turning over every so often to ensure all sides are cooked evenly.  Ensure they are fully cooked before removing from the oven.

Add the remaining squash to a saucepan with the 600ml vegetable stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, allowing the squash to poach in the stock.

Add the remaining oil and one TBsp of the butter to a frying pan on medium heat.  Add the chopped onions and allow to cook until translucent (don’t allow the onion to brown – so ensure the temperature is not too high), about 5-7 minutes.  Add the garlic, bay leaf and herbs, stir and cook for one further minute.  Stir in the rice, and keep stirring on and off for about five minutes, so the rice becomes coated in the butter and oil, and allow the rice to take on a toasty flavour.

Add the wine to the rice and stir to combine.  Increase the heat slightly and let the wine evaporate, about 1-2 minutes.  Start to ladle in the stock (leaving the squash in the saucepan to cook), but only ladle in around 1/2 a cup at a time.  Stir during each addition of stock, and then allow the stock to be almost completely absorbed into the rice before adding more.   Here is where you need to keep an eye on it, so be patient!  From start to finish of the stock, it should take around 15 minutes.

The squash in the stock should have now softened enough to mash.  Once the risotto is cooked, add the mashed squash and chopped spinach to the risotto and stir to combine.  Find the bay leaf and remove (unless you want to eat it?!).  Add the remaining TBsp of butter and season with salt and pepper.

Once the baked squash is ready, add that to the risotto and stir to combine.

Feel free to serve with some vegan parmesan (as I did), toasted seeds or nuts to the finished product!

Time to make: 10 minutes to prep the ingredients, 30 minutes to cook the squash in the oven, 10 minutes starting the risotto and 15 minutes cooking the risotto (while the squash is in the oven) = 55 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, there are a few moving parts to this, but nothing difficult if you know how to chop veggies and stir some rice!

#nowplaying : Omni – Delicacy

Comforting seitan “beef” and barley stew

Anyone else make big old batches of seitan and use it in every damn thing?!  I used to love me a peppery beef stew when I wasn’t vegan (I can’t believe I used to eat that stuff, ewwwww), so a substitute that’s earth-and-animal friendly was very much needed for when I moved over to the “green” side.

This recipe is brilliant to make on the weekend and take to work for lunches during the week (if it lasts that long), and also freezes really well.  Another recipe where the flavours seem to get better when you leave it stewing in its own juices for a couple of days.  You can also team this stew with a variety of carbs, as it would go well alongside mashed potatoes (potato overload!), quinoa, rice or just a thickly cut slice of fresh bread with vegan margarine.

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Of course, you will need to make the seitan pieces ahead of time, but just pop them in the fridge and let them sit for a day or so.  This will ensure they remain flavoursome and delicious when you add them to your stew.

Do play around with the recipe as well – no need to put both spuds and carrots in it if you don’t want to.  Add some beans for a super protein kick, pop in some courgettes, peppers or aubergine, or you could even make some dumplings to add to the stew while it’s still cooking (excuse me while I drool a little…).  The options for this recipe are endless, and it’s a good opportunity to add whatever is in the fridge that you need to use up.

Get onto this recipe when you can, and make sure you tag me on Instagram if you make it so I can see how awesome it is!  Enjoy.

Ingredients

2 TBsp oil

2 seitan steaks (see my recipe from previous blog here)

1/2 onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 small carrots (or one big one), sliced 1.5 cms thick

1 TBp dried mixed herbs (or a mix of thyme, rosemary, oregano)

salt and cracked pepper to taste

1/2 cup red wine (substitute for extra broth if you would prefer without)

1/2 tsp paprika

2 cups vegetable broth

1 TBsp tomato paste

400 grams potatoes, peeled and diced (about two large spuds, or 4-6 smaller spuds)

1 cup cooked pearl barley, per packet instructions (approx 1/2 cup uncooked – this should be made ahead of time, or while your stew is cooking)

2 TBsp plain flour

Method

Cut the seitan steaks into bite sized pieces.  Heat a non-stick frying pan and add one of the tablespoons of oil to the pan.  Once heated, add the seitan pieces and fry until sufficiently browned.  Remove from the pan and set aside

Add the remainder of the oil to a large, lidded saucepan.  Add the onions and fry on medium heat until translucent.  Add the minced garlic and stir.

After a minute or so, add the carrots, wine, herbs and paprika, and stir to combine.  Bring to the boil, then simmer for a couple of minutes, or until the wine has reduced by half.

Add the broth and potatoes and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are just tender (10 – 12 minutes, depending on the size of your diced potato).

Add the pearl barley, tomato paste and seitan, and stir to combine.

Mix the 2 tablespoons of flour with 1/4 cup of water to a smooth paste.  Add to the stew, while stirring continuously.

Leave to simmer for another 5 – 10 minutes, or until the stew has thickened to your desired consistency.

Serve with crusty bread or alongside some rice and tenderstem broccoli.

This stew also freezes well – ensure the stew has fully cooled before transferring to a container and freezing.

Time to make: 5 minutes to prep the ingredients, 5 minutes to sear the seitan steaks, 40 minutes on the hob = 1 hour

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2, an easy one if you have all the ingredients and some pre-made seitan!

#nowplaying : Thom Yorke – Suspirium

 

 

 

 

 

Quinoa and sweet potato falafel

Confession time – I’ve never made a falafel myself at home that didn’t turn out terrible.  Not sure what it is exactly that I do to them but they seem to want to disintegrate whenever I deep fry them, and baking makes them taste too… healthy (you know [junk food] me).  But now folks, I have managed to make a falafel that didn’t fall apart and tasted boss.  BEHOLD.

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These quinoa and sweet potato falafel are a game changer.  I didn’t bother with the deep fryer and went the grilling route, instead of baking.  Oh yes, it works.  FINALLY.  Trying to get more chickpeas and quinoa into your life has never been easier.  Well, for some people it’s easy, but for me with my regular #FattyFriday’s and penchant for vegan burgers and Vego bars, it tends to be quite difficult getting the healthy stuff in me.

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Make these sexy balls as big or small as you like – they tend to stick together well with the  squishy-ness of the sweet potato.  Use whatever herbs and spices you fancy too – these ones are a touch spicy but feel free to tone the spice down and give it more of your own flavours.  Enjoy in pita, part of a salad or on their own as a snack.  SO yum.

Ingredients

1 x medium sweet potato, peeled and diced

60g uncooked quinoa

1/2 a 400g tin of chickpeas (reserve the juice to make some chocolate mousse!)

2 cloves minced garlic

1 TBsp minced ginger

1 TBsp sunflower oil (or other high smoke point oil)

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp rice vinegar

juice of 1/2 a lime

handful of coriander or parsley (optional)

 

Instructions

Peel, dice and boil the sweet potato on the hob for 15 minutes, or until tender

While the sweet potato is cooking, cook the quinoa according to packet instructions

When the sweet potato and quinoa are cooked, set aside.

Add the oil, garlic and ginger to a fry pan and cook on low-medium heat for around one minute, ensuring the garlic doesn’t brown

Add the remaining ingredients to the fry pan, including the quinoa and sweet potato, and mash with a potato masher (or a fork if you don’t have a masher) until the mix is well combined and there are barely any chunky bits

Set aside the mix for a few minutes until it is cool enough for you to handle

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and turn on your grill to medium high heat

Roll the mix into balls of the same size (however big/small you like) and place on the parchment paper with plenty of space between them

I use either a little bit of water or oil to wet my hands with when rolling the balls, as it makes the mix less sticky on the hands and comes away easier (#toptip!)

Once all the mix has been rolled into balls, place your tray of balls under the grill for around 25 minutes, turning every 7 minutes or so.  Keep an eye on them to ensure they brown but don’t burn.

Once ready, serve with salad, avocado, tahini or in a wrap.  Enjoy!

Time to make: 10 minutes prep, 50 minutes cooking (including sweet potato/quinoa) = 1 hour

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, relatively simple but with a few moving parts.  Not the quickest of recipes, but you could cook the sweet potato/quinoa in advance and heat up the balls when you need them

#nowplaying : Cabbage – Arms of Pleonexia

 

 

Seitan steaks

So this is a recipe that I really HAVE to share with you all.  I make seitan once every couple weeks on the weekend, because it lasts ages, you can freeze it, it’s a brilliant source of protein and you can do so much with it.

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There are loads of seitan recipes knocking around the internet, and I’ve tried making plenty of them.  I prefer making this one as it’s one of the easiest and I always have the ingredients ready to go.  Vital Wheat Gluten can be hard to find, but check your local Whole Foods, Holland & Barrett or health food store and you should be able to pick up a pack.  Make sure you get vital wheat gluten – if that’s not what it says, it’s not what you want!  You can also order online in bulk if you plan on making a shedload of the stuff.

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This recipe is for seitan “steaks”, so whatever you would use a steak for (if you were a meat eater…), you can substitute this for it.  Steak burgers, Philly cheesesteaks, gyros, kebabs or stew – whatever your gorgeous vegan heart desires.

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Steak, cheese and fried onion baguette. SEXXY.

It’s not a quick recipe, but it’s well worth the effort!

Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients

1 cup Vital Wheat Gluten (I used Suma for this recipe)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 Tablespoon smoked paprika

1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder or granules

pinch of salt

3/4 cup of water (more if needed)

2 Tablespoons soy sauce or tamari, plus extra for marinating

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

5 cups of water

2-3 bay leaves

Instructions

Add the five cups of water and bay leaves to a large pot and bring to the boil.  Turn down the heat until the water is only just simmering.  If the water is boiling too fast this will make the seitan expand more and become more sponge-like.  We don’t want that…

While waiting for the water to boil, add the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, garlic powder and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Add the 3/4 cup water, soy sauce and tomato paste to the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms.  Add a little bit more water here if needed (if all the wheat gluten hasn’t mixed in properly).

Knead the dough for about a minute and then let it rest for five minutes or so.

After five minutes, return to the dough and knead again for another minute.

Split the mixture into four or five steaks.  The seitan will expand a bit, so make sure your steaks aren’t too big to start with!  Try to flatten them as much as possible – use a floured rolling pin if that helps.

Add your steaks to the simmering pot of water and bay leaves, cover, and allow to simmer for 30 – 40 minutes.

While your steaks are simmering, add about a tablespoon of soy sauce or tamari to a bowl.

When the steaks are ready, allow to cool for 10 minutes or so.

Once cooled, dip the steaks into the soy sauce and press to allow the sauce to penetrate the steaks.  You can leave them in the fridge at this point, or cook straight away.

Heat a fry pan or grill pan on medium high heat and carefully place the steaks in the pan.  Cook for a few minutes on each side, until crispy edges start to form, or if using a grill pan, until you get those black lines along the steaks.

Use as you wish… try not to eat a whole one right after they come out of the pan 😉

Time to make: 5 minutes to mix the ingredients, 5 minutes to knead and let the dough breathe, 40 minutes simmering, 5 minutes dipping in soy sauce, 5 minutes in the frying pan = 1 hour

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, relatively easy to mix and assemble but there are a few different steps… and plenty of dishes!

#nowplaying : Hookworms – Static Resistance

 

 

Spicy tofu & brussels sprout fried rice

Here’s a combo that you might not think goes together, but it really does.  Brussels sprouts and fried rice?  Nah.  Oh, but YEAH.

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Many people aren’t keen on that stinky little vegetable, but I’m a huge fan of sprouts.  They’re usually only found as part of a roast dinner (hidden under the gravy), but after trying this recipe it’s clear that they’re a lot more versatile than just being a side dish.  One cup of these little green machines gives you over 100% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin K and C, as well as containing high amounts of folate and fibre.  Ugly vegetable, yet very good for you.

The combination of agave and sriracha on the crispy tofu gives it a sweet-but-spicy edge and I try to crisp up the tofu in the oven as much as possible without over cooking.  The tofu can be pan fried too if you prefer that method.  I like to just stick it in the oven and forget about it.

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Try not to overcook your sprouts also – I know it’s quite a British thing to do (sorry Brits!), but let’s leave some of the nutrients intact, shall we?!  Add some carrots and some seeds and you have a healthy as hell meal.  You’re welcome 😉

Enjoy!

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Ingredients

Sprout Fried Rice

2 cups of cooked, day old brown rice (white is fine if that’s all you have)

1.5 cups sliced Brussels sprouts (as thick or as thin as you want, just cook longer if you cut them quite thick)

1 large carrot, cut into half rounds

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of agave (or maple syrup)

1 tablespoon oil (any vegetable oil)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp ginger (I used the stuff in a tube – lasts forever and it works well!)

Optional – sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, chopped roasted cashews

Spicy Tofu

1 pack (280g) Tofoo tofu (I love this stuff – no need to press the water out, just pat dry with a couple of handy towels and you’re good to go)

1 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari)

1 tablespoon hot sauce (I use Sriracha, but you can use Frank’s or any other hot sauce)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon agave (can also use maple syrup)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Method

Prepare your tofu first so you can put in the oven and work on the fried rice.

Preheat oven to 200C

Prepare a baking tray with baking paper.

Mix all of the tofu ingredients apart from the tofu in a small bowl to make a marinade.

Drain the tofu and dice evenly.

Place the tofu into the marinade bowl and stir to combine, ensuring all of the tofu is coated.

Carefully place your tofu pieces one by one onto the baking paper.  Keep the remaining marinade to coat the tofu halfway through.

Bake for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, turn over each piece of tofu individually and coat with the remaining marinade.

Bake for another 15 minutes or until browned, or as I like it, slightly burnt!

Now for the stir fry…

Add the vegetable oil and sesame oil to a cast iron skillet (or wok) and heat on medium high heat.

Add to the skillet the minced garlic and ginger, stirring occasionally for about a minute.  Be careful not to burn the garlic!

Add the sliced sprouts and carrots, and fry for around five minutes (longer if your sprouts are cut quite chunky), stirring occasionally.

Add the rice, soy sauce and agave to the skillet and stir to combine.  Stir fry for another five minutes or so, until everything is heated through and the rice becomes dry.

Serve immediately and top with the tofu.  Add some sesame seeds or crushed cashews.

Time to make: 20 minutes prep (because sprouts take AGES to prep!), 15 minutes to cook the rice and 30 minutes for the tofu = 55 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, the rice is really quick and easy but when you add the tofu it becomes more complicated.

Serves 2 (but honestly, keep some for leftovers as this is hella tasty the next day!)

#nowplaying Baxter Dury – Price of Tears

BBQ pulled tempeh sloppy Joes

In my quest to veganise anything and everything, I’ve given Sloppy Joes the positivelyjen vegan once over.  I missed out on the “joy” of Sloppy Joes before becoming vegan, because I was never really a fan of mincemeat (no surprises really considering what’s in the stuff…).  Now that tempeh is on the scene there’s no turning back.

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I remember the first time I tried tempeh… please don’t make my mistake and try it uncooked and not spiced – put me off the stuff for months.  I persisted however, and now I’m picking up a packet every time I pay Whole Foods a visit.  Not as versatile as tofu, but packed with more protein (19g per 100g – that’s EPIC) and more fibre than it’s more-processed cousin.

You can use vegan mince if you’re not a fan of tempeh (Fry’s do an awesome vegan mince), but in trying to keep things a bit healthy in the house, tempeh has slipped in there for the foreseeable.   If you’re anti-spice too then feel free to leave out the jalapeño and chilli powder. Top with some green stuff (for the health), pickles, coleslaw (try my recipe here!) or your favourite vegan cheese.

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Let the sloppiness begin.

Serves two people/four small burgers (or serves one if you’re really, really hungry)

Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 cloves minced garlic

1 Tbsp cup chopped jalapeños (I use ones from a jar – you can use fresh if you have them)

1/2 medium sized brown onion, finely chopped

200g packet of tempeh (I use Impulse Foods, which is organic and produced locally in the UK)

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

2 Tbsp BBQ sauce

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 Tbsp sriracha

1 tsp chilli powder

½ tsp cumin

salt & pepper to tastse

1/3 cup water

4 small hamburger buns

Instructions

Heat the oil in a fry pan/skillet over medium heat and add jalapeños and onion.  Stir to combine and continue cooking and stirring occasionally for around five to eight minutes, or until onion is translucent.

Add the garlic to the pan and stir for one minute until garlic is heated through.

Add the tempeh and water to the pan and break up the tempeh with a wooden spoon.  Mix to combine with the onions and heat through (about five minutes – keep stirring every so often).

Add the remaining ingredients minus the buns, and stir to combine.  Add more water here if needed – you want a sloppy but not runny consistency!  Cook for a further five minutes or so, until everything is heated through.

Spoon onto your hamburger buns and add your favourite toppings.

Time to make: 5 minutes prep, 10 minutes cooking time = 25 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) =  1.5, quick and easy this one.  GET IN.

#nowplaying Radiohead – Man of War

Tofush & chips (vegan “fish & chips”)

It was a long time coming, but the day had finally arrived.  I would try my hand at making vegan fish & chips, aka Tofush and chips.

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Tofush and chips with mushy peas. No fishies in this dishy.

Not sure why I had put this off for so long – fear of failure?  Thinking it might look crap?  Might taste disgusting?  It’s tofu, I mean, how much like fish can tofu taste?!  Turns out quite a lot, if you wrap it in a nori sheet.

I’ve tried vegan fish and chips at a couple of restaurants in London and always marvelled at how authentic it tasted.  The beauty of tofu is that it tastes like nothing.  It really does!  Which makes it the perfect ingredient to hold onto any sauce that you marinate it in, any spice that you shake on it or indeed, any seaweed that you wrap it in.

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While not the healthiest of dishes (deep fried, whoops), it’s one of the tastiest I’ve ever made for this blog.  Next time I’ll bump up the unhealthiness and try it with beer batter instead 😉

If you wanna go all out and have mushy peas alongside your tofush and chips, check out my recipe on this previous blog post.  Absolutely love a bit of homemade tartare sauce as well – remind me to share that on this blog at some point too!  But for now, enjoy your deep fried, fishy goodness.

Ingredients

1/2 block of tofu (approx 200gms)

1 TBsp lemon juice

2 TBsp olive oil

1/2 sheet of nori

30ml water

30ml plant milk (I used soy)

80g plain flour (plus more to thicken if batter isn’t thick enough)

1 tsp baking powder

salt & pepper

Enough oil to cover the tofush when frying (approx 5cm in height, depending on the size of your tofu).  I use sunflower oil as it has a high smoke point – much better for frying foods

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Instructions

Prepare the tofu by slicing in half, then slicing into large triangles, or any shape that you want your “fish” to look like.  I used the remaining tofu for scrambled tofu the next day.

Press the tofu in paper towels until very little moisture remains.

Add the oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to a flat bottomed dish, big enough to fit the tofu flat in the dish, and mix to combine.

Add the tofu to the dish and marinate for at least half an hour in the fridge.

While the tofu is marinating, combine the water, milk, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a small dish and whisk until smooth.  You want the batter to be the consistency of thick double cream.  Keep adding flour until you reach the right consistency (or milk if too thick!).

Once the tofu has finished marinating, it’s time to cut the nori.  You can either cut the nori the same size as the tofu and stick to one side, or do like I did and wrap around the tofu on all sides.

To keep the nori sheets in place I used a toothpick – much easier than fishing around in hot oil if the nori falls off.

At this point, turn on your hob to medium heat and heat up the oil.

Add the tofu with nori sheet into the batter and cover all over.

Check the heat of the oil by dropping a small amount of batter into the oil.  If it floats and starts bubbling then it’s ready to go.  If it sinks to the bottom, give it another couple of minutes.

When the oil is hot enough, carefully place the battered tofu into the oil, turning over after about four minutes to the other side.

Remove from the oil when fried and crispy all over, and place on a paper towel.  Carefully pull out the toothpicks to ensure none of the batter comes off with them.

Serve immediately with crispy chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce.  Enjoy!

Time to cook: 20 minutes prep, 30 mins at least marinating, 10 minutes cooking = 1 hour, (or half an hour not including marinating time!)

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, got to make sure the batter is just the right consistency, plus the nori sheets can be a bit of a faff to keep on the tofu

#nowplaying: Idles – Divide & Conquer

Nut Roast Wellington

That feeling when you make something for the first time and it works out really, really well – hello nut roast wellington!  Don’t let the ingredients list fool you – this is a really easy recipe to get right, and it tastes delicious.  To be honest, it kind of tastes like a giant sausage roll, and who doesn’t like sausage rolls?!  The bigger the better.

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Bigger than my arm, guys.

I made this on Christmas Day because at Christmas the year before I bought a vegan roast from a shop, and I wasn’t really impressed by it (I’m not going to name names here…).  Instead of forking out a small fortune (it was) on something I wasn’t going to finish and didn’t really enjoy, I thought it best to make my own this time, and I’m so glad I did.

Don’t just have your nut roast wellington’s at Christmas time either – make those puppies all year round!  Sunday roasts in 2017 have just become a lot more tasty.

The recipe makes enough for about 3 – 4 people when served with veggies and all the trimmings.  Or just make it for yourself and have leftovers for days, like I did 😉

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Sausage roll vibes

Ingredients

1 small onion, diced

1 tsp oil for frying

1 red pepper, diced quite small

2 cloves of minced garlic

120g breadcrumbs (I used Panko, but feel free to use homemade)

Small handful of parsley

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried sage

1 tsp dried rosemary

½ tsp salt (or to taste)

½ tsp pepper (or to taste)

1 ½ cups of nuts (I used 1/3 each of almonds, cashews and walnuts – no hard or fast rules here, you can use pecans, macadamias, peanuts etc., just ensure they’re in their natural form, i.e. not roasted or coated in any kind of flavouring, like salt etc.)

250g mushrooms

2 TBsp tomato paste

1 vegan egg (I used 1 TBsp flax mixed with 2 TBsp water, mixed together, and let it sit for five minutes before adding to the mixture)

1 sheet puff pastry (Jus Roll do vegan puff pastry – I’m always using that stuff!)

2 TBsp vegan milk for brushing over pastry

Instructions

Preheat oven to 175C (350F)

Remove puff pastry from the fridge/freezer and allow to warm to room temperature.

Add the oil to a frypan and heat on medium.  Add the onion and peppers and saute until soft, around 6-7 minutes.  Add the minced garlic and saute for a further minute, then set aside.

Add the breadcrumbs, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme to a food processor and process until well combined.  Transfer to a mixing bowl.

Add the nuts to the food processor and process until fine.  Transfer to the bowl with the breadcrumb mix.

Add the mushrooms to the food processor and process until finely chopped.  Transfer to the bowl with the breadcrumb mix.

Add the onion mix, salt and pepper, vegan egg and tomato paste to the breadcrumb mix.

This is where you get messy!

Use your hands to fully mix all the ingredients, and begin to form into a loaf/roll.

Transfer the roll to the middle of the puff pastry and fold the pastry over the roll to ensure the roast is sealed.

Brush the pastry all over with milk.  You could add poppy/sesame seeds here to the top of your wellington if that floats your boat.

I like to cut slits in the top of the pastry – feel free to do this however you prefer.

Transfer your wellington to a parchment lined baking tray and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, or until pastry is golden and cooked through.

Let the wellington stand for a few minutes before slicing.  Serve with all your favourite trimmings.

Time to cook: 30 minutes prep, 40 minutes in the oven = 1 hour, 10 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, quite a large ingredients list, and plenty of food processing going on, but it’s pretty straightforward and easy to just shove in the oven.

#nowplaying: The Lemon Twigs – I Wanna Prove To You

Spicy buffalo cauliflower wings

Us vegans have all seen these buffalo cauliflower wings done a million times before, and the recipes are all pretty much the same… so why haven’t you tried making them yet?!  DO IT.

I’m a huge fan of cauliflower and spicy foods in general, so these tick some serious boxes for me.  No need for boring steamed cauliflower with dinner when you can whip these babies up instead.  If you don’t like hot stuff then you can substitute the hot sauce for BBQ sauce instead, or go half of each if you’re not too sure.

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Not the quickest of recipes so make a big batch and be patient.  Perfect for tapas or with a big salad, and don’t forget the ranch sauce!  Which I should also share the recipe for that with you… so many recipes, so little time.

The below makes enough for 2 side servings, or one serving if you’re just going to eat the whole thing and nothing else 🙂

Ingredients

1 small head of cauliflower (works out to be around 2.5 cups of florets – if you have a huge cauliflower then just double the below recipe)

1/3 cup of flour

¼ cup plant based milk (soy, hemp, almond, whatever – as long as it’s unsweetened)

¼ cup water

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp hot smoked paprika (omit if you prefer less spicy)

Couple of cracks of sea salt and black pepper

1 Tbsp vegan butter

½ cup hot sauce (I use Franks hot sauce.  Sriracha is a bit less spicy, but can still be used.  Whatever you have handy really!)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Cut/break washed cauliflower into small florets.

Mix together all remaining ingredients apart from the butter and hot sauce, into a shallow bowl, to form a batter.

Dip the cauliflower florets, one at a time, into the batter and ensure they’re completely coated.  Gently shake the florets of any excess batter if they are a bit drippy!

Transfer the battered florets onto the lined baking tray, and ensure there is plenty of space between them, to allow even cooking.

Place in the oven for 30 minutes, turning over once halfway through.

While the cauliflower is cooking, add the butter and hot sauce (or BBQ sauce/sriracha if using instead) to a medium sized saucepan.  Heat on low until the butter has just melted and the sauce/butter is fully combined.

When the florets have finished in the oven, add them (carefully!) to the saucepan with the sauce and gently use a spoon to mix and coat in the hot sauce.  (At this stage of the process my eyes were watering from the sauce fumes floating up from the saucepan… LOVE IT!)

Once coated, place the florets back onto the baking sheet, space evenly and return to the oven for 30 minutes.  Again, turn once halfway through cooking.

When cooked, remove from the oven and serve immediately with your favourite ranch dressing and eat ALL of them!

 

Time to make: 10 minutes prep/coating, 30 minutes in the oven, 5 minutes re-coating, 30 more minutes in the oven = 1 hour and 15 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) =  3/5 Bit of faffing involved in this one with the re-coating and it is quite time intensive

#nowplaying 65daysofstatic – Radio Protector